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Funding Terror By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 07, 2006

Some $125 million of “humanitarian aid” made the U.S. the single largest contributor to the Taliban in May of 2001. Soon after, following 9/11, the U.S. declared war on this terrorist regime. Today, the U.S. is also the largest donor of “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians, despite their democratic choice of a terrorist HAMAS regime.

President George W. Bush ordered the severance of diplomatic relations with the PA at the end of March 2006, saying: We support the election process, we support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments that get elected as a result of democracy.” Earlier, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice declared: “The principle is very clear. We’re not going to fund a Hamas-led government.”


On the other hand, a statement made by the Quartet – the U.S. the U.N. the U.K and Russia - on March 30, 2006, “encouraged continued humanitarian assistance to meet the basic needs of the Palestinian people.” This encouragement seems to contradict the statements of the President and the Secretary of State.


To confuse matters further, State Department Deputy spokesman Adam Ereli seemed to agree with the Quartet. He said that the U.S. will only work with “individuals and organizations that: a) are not affiliated with Hamas, b) are not part of the cabinet or ministries that come under the authority of Hamas." He concluded, "That leaves room to talk to a lot of people.”


Who are these people? HAMAS won the mandate of the majority of the Palestinian electorate based on its uncompromising determination to destroy Israel, and its Cabinet is made of nineteen HAMAS activists with five other supporters. The Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of HAMAS, reacted to its triumph as “a victory of the Islamic nation in its entirety.”


There is literally no authority within the PA with whom the U.S. can speak.  Claiming that Mahmoud Abbas, the titular leader of the PA, represents the more “moderate” Palestinians is meaningless: He allowed this terrorist group to participate in the election “in the name of democracy,” then “permitted HAMAS to form the new government,” and agreed to preside over it. U.S. citizens concerned with a sensible foreign policy and accounting for their tax dollars should demand that the U.S. stop all direct and indirect funding to the PA.


The PA’s new Planning Minister Samir Abu Eisha, argued that the results of the Palestinian elections should be recognized: "The Europeans and others supported holding elections,” he said. “So, ethically, they should accept and respect the choice of the Palestinian people." Indeed, we should recognize them for what they are – a terrorist regime- and treat them accordingly.


Instead, the U.S. is the biggest contributor to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). Of nearly  $925 million UNRWA gave to the Palestinians since the October 2000 start of the Intifada, the U.S. donations accounted for 33.25%, or $172,285,212. And the U.S. continues to give money to UNRWA even now.


As for the Abu Eisha’s argument that “aid cutbacks would have dire consequences for the Palestinian people, putting pressure on education, health and social services,” we should ask whether to support people who choose terrorism and death as a way of life. The international donors gave $1 billion aid in 2005 alone. This did little to inspire democracy. Instead, it encouraged the Palestinians to vote for a terrorist regime that teaches children “the moral desirability of being a suicide terrorist,”  and whose Cabinet members swore “Death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration.”


Meanwhile the new HAMAS government cries poverty, and claims it is bankrupt.  This, in spite of $77.5 million check to the PA from the EU days before the HAMAS government was installed.  The HAMAS run PA was promised another $72.7 million, to pay salaries to its 140,000 employees, including the new HAMAS government officials. While handing over the check after the Quartet decision, EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, declared that HAMAS would not receive this money until it  “fall[s] into line with the international community.” Actually, her action demonstrates that the international community fell in line with HAMAS.


What did HAMAS do with the $77.5 million given to the PA? Apparently, it is using the money to increase the attacks on Israel. In the last 4 days alone (April 2-April 6) 40 Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Israeli targets.


The fact is, HAMAS constitutes the PA.  Giving money to the PA is funding HAMAS – which helps establish and strengthen a terrorist, Taliban-like state in the Middle East. HAMAS political chief, Khaled Meshaal declared on March 30th: "Hamas will continue its armed struggle against Israel while in power!" This is indeed a far cry from the president’s vision. Indeed, as with the Taliban, the U.S. should sever all diplomatic relations with the HAMAS-run PA; that should include closing all PA offices in the U.S. and cutting all aid, until a reliable accounting and monitoring system can assure that no money goes to HAMAS.


President Bush strives to bring democracy to the Middle East. On February 4, 2004, he declared: ”True democratic reform must come from within.” But, in the case of the Palestinian people, Islamo-Facism, not democracy, came from within.

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Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It and a member of The Committee on the Present Danger.

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